European Responses to Student Plagiarism in Higher Education

Irene Glendinning


A significant amount of research has been undertaken in response to the recent flood of student plagiarism now being detected in higher education institutions (HEI). Based on deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for this problem, new models have emerged for strategies and systems for detection, penalties and mitigation of student plagiarism.

So far the research has been largely initiated by academics from English speaking countries, particularly the UK, North America and Australia. Their work has included research into plagiarism from students from other countries, including Sweden, Germany, Lithuania, Greece and China. However, the situation within the majority of countries in Europe is not well understood and there has not yet been a comparative study of plagiarism in HEIs across Europe.

The IPPHEAE project (Impact of Policies for Plagiarism in Higher Education across Europe, funded by the European Commission 2010-2013), aims to plug the identified gap by focusing on plagiarism in European HEIs. The initial research will compare the policies and procedures in place across all European Union countries for detecting, penalising and deterring plagiarism. Surveys are being conducted in HEIs at three levels: students, teaching staff and senior managers, to determine how well any procedures are understood, to what extent they are operating as intended and whether there is consistency within and between institutions.

Where possible representatives from national quality agencies are being interviewed in order to gain overarching national perspectives on issues such as national policies and how plagiarism impacts on quality and standards. This dimension also provides a means of highlighting the importance of the research to people who can influence educational policy in Europe.

This paper describes the progress so far with the IPPHEAE surveys and presents evidence emerging from the results to date. In addition the paper provides an overview of other research being conducted under the IPPHEAE project including an overview of in-depth institutional studies and interventions for reducing the number of incidences of student plagiarism.

This paper was submitted to the International Integrity & Plagiarism Conference which ran between 2004-2014. The paper was peer reviewed by an independent editorial board and features in the conference proceedings.